by Lois Winston
One of the most common questions authors are asked is, “Where do you get the ideas for your books?” My ideas for characters, scenes, and plots often bloom from actual people and events. Often something will happen in my own life, or an event will occur that I read about in the newspaper or see on the news, and I store it away for future reference, knowing it’s too good not to use in a book.
Case in point: March 6, 2011. My husband and I are watching “Sunday Morning” on CBS. Bill Geist is interviewing a woman by the name of Laura Bell who creates paintings out of dryer lint. Her masterpiece is a 14-foot x 4-foot replica of Leonardo daVinci’s “The Last Supper,” which took her 7 months of lint collecting and 200 hours to create. “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” bought the piece for $12,000. Really. I’m not making this up. You can see a video of the interview here.
Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, the first book in my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries, had debuted two months prior to this interview appearing on television. I had already turned in Death by Killer Mop Doll, the second book in the series and had begun work on Revenge of the Crafty Corpse.
In Revenge of the Crafty Corpse, Lyndella Wegner, a 98-year-old resident of an assisted living facility is a consummate crafter with a penchant for anything X-rated. The moment I saw Bill Geist’s interview of Laura Bell, I knew Lyndella had to create lint paintings. Her piece de resistance is a three-foot tall, two-dimensional reproduction of Michelangelo’s masterpiece, “David,” down to every anatomical detail, minus any censoring of a certain body part.
Now, some might read Revenge of the Crafty Corpse and scoff at the idea of anyone painting with lint. Some readers might think Lyndella is a totally unrealistic character. Painting with dryer lint does sound kind of absurd, doesn’t it? But go back and look at the title of this blog post: Truth is Stranger than Fiction. Laura Bell and her $12,000 check from Ripley’s certainly proves that.
Award-winning author Lois Winston writes the critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series. She's also published in women's fiction, romance, romantic suspense, and non-fiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Visit Lois at her website or Emma's website, and visit Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog.